Legendary Uttarakhand folksinger, songwriter and musician Chandra Singh Rahi passed away on 10th january, 2016 after prolonged illness. An artist and singer for more than 50 years, Chandra Singh was facilitated in 2014 for completing 50 years in his field of art and music. He has sung numerous songs in both the Garhwali and Kumaoni languages and sold thousands of cassettes of his songs.
Born Chadra Singh Negi in 1941 to father Dilbar Singh Negi and mother Sundara Negi, Chandra’s first lessons in music were from his father’s ‘Jagar’ ( a type of devotional ) songs. In 1957 he moved to Delhi looking for a job and in the initial months sold flutes for a livelihood. Later he secured a government job and also started learning music from Bachan Singh.
Handling both his job and music, he started writing songs in 1966 after getting inspired by famous Garhwali poet Kanhaiyalal Dandriyal. His song ‘Dil Ko Umal’ moved Kanhaiyalal so much that he gave Chandra Singh the title of ‘Rahi’ instead of Negi. Since then Chandra Singh Negi was known as Chandra Singh Rahi. He wrote a number of popular songs in the coming years such as ‘Dhay’ in 1980, ‘Ramchhol’ in 1981 and ‘Geet Ganga’ in 2010.
Chandra Singh Rahi spent a considerable time of his later years scourging the villages and mountains of Uttarakhand collecting and singing all types of Kumaoni and Garhwali folk songs. He was also considered to be the only person who can play all the folk instruments of Uttarakhand. His demise is definitely a great loss to Uttarakhand and all music lovers of India.